By editor - 07 June, 2014
Source: ICN http://www.indcatholicnews.com
The 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings is an opportunity for present generations to show gratitude for the “heavy sacrifice” of soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy to fight against “Nazi barbarism” and free occupied France during World War II, Pope Francis has said.
In a message to mark the anniversary on Friday, the Pope said it should serve as a reminder that excluding God from the lives of people and societies can bring nothing but death and suffering.
He called on the people of Europe to find their roots and future hopes in the Gospel of Christ.
The message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, was sent to the Catholic Church in France for a prayer service on Friday.
On 5 June 1944, around 156,000 Allied troops landed on Normandy’s beaches in one of World War II’s key turning points. Between 2,500 and 4,000 Allied troops are thought to have died the next day.
In his message, the Pope paid tribute to those soldiers.
He said he did not forget the German soldiers who were dragged into the drama, like all victims of war. As many as 9,000 Germans are also estimated to have lost their lives.
Pope Francis said present generations should express their full gratitude to all those who made such a heavy sacrifice.
He said that by educating future generations to respect all men and women created in the image of God and passing down memories to them, it is possible to hope for a better future.
The Pope stressed that commemorations such as these remind us that excluding God from the lives of people and societies can bring nothing but death and suffering and European nations can find in the Gospel of Christ, the Prince of peace, the root of their history and a source of inspiration for establishing ever more fraternal relations and solidarity.
The Pope entrusted to the path of peace to the protection of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross – co-patron of Europe who died in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942- and the Virgin Mary.